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I was asked to look at this some time ago.

http://www.dougswordclocks.com/

Doug had created a fantastic project, and it was thought that the readers of TheShed may want to have a go.

A deal was struck and a kit was obtained with the intention of detailing how easy it was to put togther.

 

 

 

 

 

Hardware

The electronics is based on an Arduino, some latches, RTC and LED strip lights.

These are fitted inside a housing to illuminate the various words that spell out the time.

 

It's a rather simple concept, and often the very clever ideas are simple.

 

The enclosure consists of a number of acrylic strips along with a front panel that has a cut graphic that spells out the words.

The front panel can be customised, and can be any language required, so it's a truly global product.

 

 

 

 

Assembly

I started with the electronics first.

I'm not going to bore you with all the details but here are some of the pictures.

 

 

It's important when bending diodes to not put any pressure on the body. Use pliers to hold the diode lead and bend against the pliers.

 

 

 

When soldering ensure you heat the pcb pad and the wire, and then apply solder to the pcb pad/wire junction.

 

 

Eventually you end up with a completed item.

 

 

The enclosure is next.

Assemble all 4 sides and tape together so they stay put.

 

I used the LED mounting panel to make sure it was square.

I found using Acrylic solvent and applying with a needle and syringe was far more controllable and easier to get in the right place.

This is a near instant stick, unlike the other glues, so use with caution.

 

There are 7 baffles, which stop the light spilling into the next row.

The middle is first and then the others.

 

Use tape to hold them in place, and make sure they are square before gluing.

 

 

 

There are inner baffles between the words, and you need to add the LED strips behing each word, so I marked these by illuminating the front panel.

 

 

The LEDs get laid out, stuck down and then soldered.

 

 

 

Eventually the rear looks something like this

 

 

 

Some screw holes to hold the front and rear panels in place, pushbuttons and power, and a means of mounting it on the wall and the enclosure is assembled

 

 

 

Software

Doug has been very generous and made the code Open Source.

He has also provided the schematic and pcb layout.

 

He does ask that you credit him if you're going to change it, which is only fair.

 

I've attached it and the other bits of the information at the bottom.

 

 

 

Video

It's hard to imgine the clock without seeing it in action.

 

 

For the video I found a 9v power pack, so that the camera didn't flare out.

I'm adjusting the time setting to show a time sequence ... otherwise it would be a very long or highly sped up video.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Large versions

I was amazed when I saw the pictures of this one.

http://www.dougswordclocks.com/wordclocks/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Brisbane-2.jpg

We tracked down the Brisbane Apartment block it was in, but couldn't get inside to take some photos ... unfortunately.

 

 

 

However I'm thinking a spare wall, CNC router, and it might suit home.

 

 

In the meantime it is surprising what the humble Arduino can do.

 

 

Mark

 

The guys at Wyolum made a version that had individual leds.

I saw some images but I did manage to grab a copy of the instructions.